Half Way There: Some Bills Move Forward, Others Stall at Key Legislative Deadline

Friday May 31 is the deadline for bills to pass out of their house of origin: Assembly bills must pass the Assembly Floor and Senate Bills must pass the Senate Floor. Bills that move forward will repeat the same process (policy committee, Appropriations Committee, Floor) in the second house. Bills that do not move forward by the deadline cannot move forward this year – with some key exceptions: bills that require a 2/3 vote, such as revenue measures, can move forward with urgency, unrestricted by some deadlines.  Bills in extraordinary session can also move forward on a special timeline. 

Key bills moving on to the second house:
  • SB639 (Hernandez) Limiting cost sharing per requirements of the ACA, standardizing plans, and making health insurance more affordable.
  • SB353 (Lieu) Protecting consumers from deceptive marketing by requiring insurers to provide information in all languages that they market in, and giving the Insurance Commissioner the authority to approve marketing materials.
  • SB161 (Hernandez) Small Group Stop Loss coverage reforms that protect employees covered under these plans.
  • SB746 (Leno) Provides greater transparency through rate review in the large group insurance market.
  • AB18 (Pan) Regulating stand-alone dental plans.
  • AB314 (Pan)Requires UC Student Health plans to eliminate annual and lifetime limits.
  • AB617 (Nazarian) Establishes a coordinated appeals system for the Exchange, Medi-Cal, and AIM.
  • AB1263 (Perez) Establishes a program for medical interpreters for Medi-Cal Managed Care Plans.
Key bills that will not move forward this year:
  • SB189 (Monning) Guidelines for wellness incentives that would protect consumers from being penalized based on health status.
Still pending are bills that required a two-thirds vote anyway. We expect a vote soon on AB880 (Gomez), which requires large employers of low wage workers to contribute to the cost of shifting their workers to Medi-Cal. Key revenue bills that stalled but could still move forward:
  • SB768 (de Leon) Tax on cigarettes to support tobacco cessation and Medi-Cal.
  • SB622 (Monning) Tax on sweetened beverages to support disease prevention programs.

Also moving forward are discussions of the state budget.  The budget conference committee, which will debate the differences between actions taken by the Assembly and Senate will meet on Friday afternoon.  The deadline for an on-time budget is June 15, per a new law (2011), the legislature will not get paid if they do not meet this deadline. 
Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.